Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Context for Spirituality is not Spirituality

I don’t read very many books about faith. And I don’t listen to very many sermons about faith. I’ve not known exactly why for some time, or at least until lunch yesterday. Those books were fine (I may have even written one or two) but they didn’t seem to be very applicable to my life. And it’s never actually helped me to “work on my spirituality or my relationship with Jesus” either. What has helped me is finding myself lost in the woods and calling out to God, looking for wisdom in the scriptures.
Yesterday, at lunch, my friend David mentioned he’d spent some time in Colorado with the guys at Ransomed Heart. David used to work with them and went back to hang out with them for a weekend in the mountains. He mentioned that one of the guys reminded him thatspirituality was not a context.
I asked David what the guy meant, and Dave said what he meant was that you learn about God while learning to fly a plane or raising a child or planting crops in a field. It’s not a hard, fast rule to be sure, but the idea is that sitting around looking at your spiritual belly button isn’t going to provide an object lesson for your faith. The idea is that faith makes sense in the context of some other pursuit.
And that might be the reason I don’t migrate toward conversations specifically about faith.
In the Bible, God guides people through stories. Stories is how He teaches people about themselves and Himself. He doesn’t get the children of Israel out of Egypt instantly. God drags it out, creates plagues, guides them through positive and negative turns, all to shape their faith. He does the same with Joseph, giving him a vision, then immediately letting him be thrown into a well by his brothers.
If we think we are going to grow in faith by sitting around at a Bible study, we are wrong. That stuff is fine, but without a story, without diving into something really difficult, something that requires us to look to God for support and wisdom and comfort, it will be more difficult to become a person of great faith.
As published at

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